October 21, 2021

#RESIST: Tesla bulls—and Elon Musk, too—are in open revolt against Biden’s new NHTSA adviser.

A Duke University professor of engineering, Mary Louise “Missy” Cummings, has been reportedly picked as the agency’s new senior safety adviser, putting her at the front line of any regulatory battles around autonomous driving technology. The choice could hurt the company’s fortunes, as she’s been highly skeptical of what she considers Tesla’s reckless approach to full self-driving (FSD) in the past.

Musk believes his $10,000 FSD feature will eventually mint tens of billions of dollars in software profits, as people pay extra for an autonomous vehicle. Several times, however, Cummings has gone on the record with critical remarks regarding Tesla’s—and Musk’s—autonomous driving ambitions. A few landed like—well, this being Twitter—a gut punch.

Making matters worse in the eyes of Tesla investors, Cummings is an independent board member of Veoneer. The Swiss auto parts supplier specializes in active safety systems and advanced driver assistance technology including lidar, a laser sensor that can create detailed three-dimensional maps of the environment by scanning their surroundings.

I’m not a huge fan of Tesla (unlike SpaceX) or autonomous driving, but this looks like yet another potential case of Biden Administration grift.

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